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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

FOSTORIAN WAS PART OF FAMILY OF INDUSTRIOUS MILLERS
Thursday September 15, 1983


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Pix #1 - The Speck brothers were part of a family of four generations of millers by birth and preference. From left to right top row: H.B. Speck, J.C. Speck, J.K. Speck; Front row: A.H. Speck, J.M. Speck, William P. Speck.

Corinne Speck, long-time resident of Fostoria, deceased, was a friend of mine for many years...often helping me with names and other data for Potluck articles.

But there was one story, a very interesting one about her family, which she never revealed. I came across it recently, and it is the heart of today's article.

"Speck" is a Swiss name. Corinne's great grandfather came to this country from Switzerland with two brothers when he was young and continued in the grain milling business, which he had learned in his native land, settling in Maryland where he operated several mills during his lifetime.

Corinne's great grandfather was the father of five boys, and all of them followed in their father's occupation, running mills in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Four of those brothers had large families, and with few exceptions their sons followed the milling business.

One of the sons of the second generation who was named Peter Speck. He too followed the milling business, operating mills in Washington County, MD, until 1880, when he moved to Tiffin where he located and ran a mill until he died at 71, in 1896.

Peter Speck had six sons, shown in the accompanying photo, all of whom had their lessons in a mill which he operated for 19 years on the banks of the historic old Antietam Creek in Maryland.

The older borthers had migrated to Ohio several years before their father moved there. J.M. Speck operated mills in Maryland and southern Pennsylvania Other brothers operated mills in and around Tiffin and other Ohio cities for many years.

William P. Speck operated a mill in Franklin County, MD, before coming to Ohio. He also had been in mills in Clifton and Republic and at one time was with Mennel Milling Company here in Fostoria.

A.H. Speck operated mills in Maryland and Pennsylvania, later coming to Tiffin. He was also with Sneath-cunningham Grain Company at Tiffin.

J.C. Speck, the fourth brother, also milled in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio. Later, he accepted a postition with the Rea and Page Milling Company, Marshall, MO.

J.K. Speck, the youngest of the six brothers, had his milling experience along with the others at Tiffin and Ashland.

H.B. Speck began his career in the milling business at age 12.

He is the one who provided the information for an article which appeared in American Miller magazine, and from which excepted and quoted parts are in this article. The article was among personal effects of Corinne Speck and was sold at public aution after her death. Ray Dell bought the framed article and that is how I came to see it and recognized another bit of interesting history for readers.

About H.B. Speck...he occasionally took care of his father's mill, when he was called for jury service. The mill, in Franklin County, PA, was described as an old "one-horse" burr mill. Run by an overshoot waterwheel. There was one run for wheat flour and one for feed and meal grinding.

Quoting H.B. Speck's article: "Coming to Tiffin with my parents in 1880, I helped my father in the home mill until 1886, when I accepted a position with einsel Shears & Co., who had built a new 200-barrel plant. I was in their employ four years, the last two years as head miller. That was when I was 21".

"About that time I started to remodel my father's mill, which was in Tiffin on the Sandusky River. I had charge of this mill from 1890 to 1895, when I went in to the milling business for myself. In July 1895 I bought my father's interest in the Home Mill at tiffin and continued to operate it until the fall of 1913, when I sold the plant to H.K. James Milling Company".

"After selling this mill, I bought and remodeled a mill in Norwalk, which I operated two years before selling. Next I bought a mill at Gibsonburg, which I sold after running it four months. I also took over the mill at Bettsville, remodeling it and putting in a Midget Marvel mill. This mill I ran for two and a half years and then sold it and bought the Palo Alto Mill, seven miles south of Tiffin on the Sandusky River".

Besides the six Speck brothers mentioned above, they had cousins who were also in the milling business, three of which were mentioned in the original article: Frederick Speck, Walter Speck and Samuel Speck.

There were four generations of Specks, all practical millers.

As your author read the copy of the original article in American Miller, many thoughts flooded my mind, and led me to present this article.

I thought about the pioneering spirit of that first Speck who left his native Switzerland and came to America...the closeness that must have existed between he and his sons and the reverence and respect the sons of all generations of Specks must have had for their fathers to follow in their chosen milling careers...the contribution that all of those men made to this country with their talents, both inherited and learned. Milling was an important skill back then, to provide a variety of ground products from grain to feed both man and animals.

Four generations of Specks devoted their lives to providing the basic ingredient for bread...the staff of life. Their dedication affected the lives of millions in the many areas if this country where they settled and worked.

Corinne's father, one of the six brothers who pursued the milling occupation, was William P., shown in the first row in the accompanying photo, extreme right.

Around 1913 he was employed at the Mennel Milling Company. This author will be interested in knowing if there are any ex-employees of Mennel Milling still living, who worked with Speck.

It is unknown if William P. Speck ever milled in Tiffin. He and his wife Mary (Alleman) came to Fostoria in 1913 when Corinne was 10 years of age.